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Premier visits new Mountain hospital today

More than 1,600 took public tour of St. Joes West 5th campus

 By Mark Newman, News Staff 

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Health and Long-Term Care Minister Deb Matthews are slated to be on hand this morning for the official opening of Joseph Healthcare Hamilton’s new $581 million, 305 patient mental health hospital at West 5th and Fennell.

The ceremony and brief tour are slated for 10 a.m.

Meanwhile a bit of snow and cold temperatures didn’t stop the public from coming out to have a look at the Mountain’s newest hospital last weekend.

 “People were so excited,” said hospital spokesperson Teresa Mostert after 1,683 people joined one of the many guided tours of the facility that was turned over to St. Joes by the construction consortium in December. “We received many positive comments.”

Many were amazed by the large windows that are spread throughout the hospital that allow 70 percent of the building to get natural sunlight.

“We really want to invite the community to come in and use the spaces that are in the public side,” said Mostert.

Areas available to the public when the hospital opens next month include the ground floor cafeteria near the out-patient entrance off Fennell, a 300 seat auditorium and eventually a 5,900 square-foot gymnasium on the second floor which will have separate public access.

There are five in-patient units; Mountain, Waterfall, Orchard, Harbour North and Harbour East.

“They all representHamiltonfeatures and they were picked specifically to do that,” said Mostert, who noted each unit comes with a different colour and each unit has its own dinning area.

Far less institutional-looking than the former Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital next door, the new West 5th campus features 16 courtyards, a recreation centre, a chapel that can accommodate 75 people, a pedestrian plaza and a museum featuring the history of mental health services inHamilton.

Mostert noted patients with medical approval will access their rooms using a hotel-like swipe card which will also enable them to visit other parts of the hospital including the gym and rec centre.

Each ward features a main desk with a number of computer screens that enables hospital staff to keep tabs on what’s happening in that area.

In the event of a leak or other problem in one of the bathrooms, staff can shut off water to that bathroom from the desk.

The system also enables staff that needs assistance to contact the desk via a mobile devise and their picture and location in the unit appears on one of the computer screens.

There are some 500 security cameras scattered around the hospital, but there are no cameras in the patient rooms or in one of the four apartment units that will be used to help transition patients back to the community.

In addition to mental health services, the hospital features community diagnostic services such as MRI, breast imaging, x-ray and ultrasound.

Services from the old West 5th campus have begun moving into the new hospital.

About 200 patients will be moved on Feb. 9 and the hospital will be operational the next day.

Starting in March the old hospital buildings will be demolished and replaced by a soccer pitch, baseball diamond, walking paths and parking.

The new hospital is officially known as the Margaret and Charles Juravinski Centre for Integrated Healthcare in recognition of the couple’s $10 million gift to a St. Joes’ fundraising campaign in 2011.

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